Belgium’s Philippaerts eyeing 2020 Olympics 10 years after victory at Youth Olympic Games

Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Chilli Willi at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon,
Credit : Scoopdyga

Tuesday 09 April - 17h51 | Ian Clayton

Belgium’s Philippaerts eyeing 2020 Olympics 10 years after victory at Youth Olympic Games

Nine years after winning a Team gold medal for Europe at the YOG Singapore 2010, the now 26-year-old Nicola Philippaerts is looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but acknowledges it won’t be an easy road to qualification. The elite show jumper made the comments in a new interview with Olympic.org.  

 - Belgium’s Philippaerts eyeing 2020 Olympics 10 years after victory at Youth Olympic Games

Credit : olympic.org

Phillipaerts, who also rode for Belgium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, said his experience at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games will always represent a crucial milestone in his career.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” he told the international organization. “The Olympic Games are the biggest thing that you can achieve in our sport and I’m very happy it turned out so well in Singapore. Martin Fuchs (of Switzerland) and I were on the same team with Team Europe and again we’re on the same team now with the London Knights. We’re very close friends. I believe the friendships that you forge at the Youth Olympic Games are friendships that last throughout your careers.”

The 13th-ranked rider in the world in the sport added that the trip to Asia was also a real learning experience outside the arena: “If you go to any Olympic Games and watch all the top sportsmen and how dedicated they are to their sports, you can learn something special. Whether it is tennis players or runners, you can observe their attention to detail where centimetres here and there can make a big difference. You admire athletes and watch everything they do. Even simple things like what they eat for breakfast – you see these 2m-tall basketball players eating plates and plates of food. It’s unbelievable, while us riders are really just shrimps there.”

For more of the interview with the rider, whose father Ludo was a four-time Olympian between 1992 to 2004 and whose his twin brother Olivier is another a team-mate on the London Knights, see here. 

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